DWI Initiatives Foil Foot-Dragging by New Mexico Lawmakers
Governor Susana Martinez is losing patience with New Mexico’s drunk drivers. Legislators aren’t cutting it – the state is delivering a slap to the wrist, she indicates, when a good thwack upside the head is warranted. So Martinez has bypassed the legislature and introduced four new DWI initiatives by executive action.
- “Operation Stop the Pain” – Increased police patrols, with a focus on the deadliest highways – U.S. 64 between Bloomfield and Farmington and Interstate 40 between Gallup and Grants – which have the highest incidence of drunk driving. The operation will also monitor establishments that served DWI offenders to ensure that they’re complying with the law.
- Increased pursuit of DWI offenders with bench warrants.
- Increased pursuit of DWI offenders who have violated their parole or probation. Photos of the most wanted DWI fugitives will be posted on the ENDWI site.
- Monitoring of DWI cases by everyday citizens so that they can learn how sentencing is being handled. Presumably this will begin to discourage too-lenient sentencing.
These DWI initiatives are set to start up within a few weeks, and will continue through till next year.
We hope the measures meant to find fugitive and non-compliant DWI offenders will include an assurance that offenders install their mandated ignition interlocks. New Mexico was the first state to require ignition interlocks, or car breathalyzers, for all drunk driving offenses. The devices prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.
It will be interesting to see if these DWI initiatives help bring down the state’s numbers for alcohol-related deaths. If they do, perhaps other governors step in where their legislators fear to go.